As promised, I am getting back to you about last night's meeting with Dr. Dance. There were about 30 people, many of them principals and parent reps. from all of the possibly affected schools. A representative from GWWO Architectural firm was also there, since they helped to develop overcrowding solutions based on their extensive research this summer of every school in the county.
Basically, here is the result of the meeting: There are 2 scenarios on the table. The first is to simply reopen LRE and go from there. The second scenario is the one that was proposed at the last meeting; reopen LRE and move Halstead students as well as some Oakleigh students to that new school. Reopen Halstead as a system wide magnet school and finally add 300 additional seats to CVE with a new catchment zone while keeping the magnet program there intact at this time.
Lots of questions, particularly about the magnet program at CVE. First let me say that redistricting in the central area will now be in 2 phases where before it was going to be all at once. There will be a boundary change the end of this year for the Mays Chapel school. The redistricting for the Towson area will not be done until a plan is in place, approved, and construction begins. Since the earliest that this can happen is 2 years out, there is time before the changes could take place.
For CVE, the additional seats would allow for a greater catchment zone. For the CURRENT K-5 students at CVE, there will be no changes. BCPS policy grandfathers in 4th and 5th graders in redistricting and since the earliest that changes will be made are 2 years out, the 2-5 graders are there to stay. As to the K-1, the question was asked and answered by Dr. Dance. He publicly stated to all that the CURRENT K-1 children will be able to stay in the program at CVE. Nothing was stated about siblings, but in the past the decision has always been to grandfather in siblings and this was mentioned at the earlier meeting.
Halstead Academy will be turned into a countywide magnet school. Since the students will be moving to LRE, it will be a full magnet. Originally Dr. Dance was thinking a language immersion magnet program but that may be changing after the audit comes out. One of the issues is that magnet programs need to be consistent through all the grade levels in the county.
There are cases where there is a magnet school at the elementary and middle school levels but nothing at the high school level. Or maybe there is no middle school magnet program yet there is one at elementary level. You get
the drift. In any case, this may also change the faces and curricula of the magnet programs, but nothing is decided until the audit results are in and presented to the Board of Ed.
Bottom line, Halstead would become a system wide magnet school, but the verdict is out as to what kind. Finally, LRE will reopen with students from Halstead and some from Oakleigh. The school will still be available for use by outside entities as most of the schools are now.
This is a lot of information and I hope I summarized it sufficiently. There are many more questions coming from all over. Dr. Dance did reiterate that if you have questions or concerns, to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He reads on average 300 emails a day and while he might not answer all of them, know that he does read them. What he does is to categorize them by trends. From there he meets with staff and takes everything into account. Case in point, the redistricting process changed from the whole central area at once to two separate processes, one being Mays Chapel and the other Towson. Don't forget, you will have the chance to voice concerns at the Community meeting to be held sometime in mid to end of October. No date announced yet.